The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has published a report on its April 2016 visit to the high-security prison on the island of İmralı in Turkey, where Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and three other prisoners are being held.
The report says that compared to the CPT’s previous visit in January 2013, conditions of detention have been significantly improved for Öcalan and remain satisfactory for the three other inmates. Furthermore, the delegation reported a favourable impression of the establishment’s healthcare services.
However, the CPT expressed serious concern that the situation regarding the prisoners’ contact with the outside world has further deteriorated. In particular, all prisoners have been prevented from receiving visits from their lawyers for almost five years and from relatives for more than 18 months. A total ban on telephone calls has also been imposed on all prisoners.
The committee called on Turkish authorities to make sure that all prisoners at İmralı Prison are able, if they so wish, to receive visits from their relatives and lawyers.
Öcalan’s brother Mehmet Öcalan and sister Fatma Öcalan had appealed to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office through their lawyers to make a visit to the İmralı High Security Type F Prison last Monday. Appeals were also submitted by family members of the other prisoners, Hamili Yıldırım’s brother Polat Yıldırım, Ömer Hayri Konar’s brother Ali Konar and Veysel Aktaş’s sister Sabiha Aslan.
The appeals by the Öcalan family lawyers and the lawyers of the other families were rejected by the prosecutor’s office on grounds of “Restrictions against convicts” listed in the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures Act No.5275. With the most recent petition, appeals by the families have been rejected 67 times since September 11, 2016.